Something to Say? Choose Your Words Well
22nd April, 2016
Ok firstly – Why the picture of the dog? This is Titch a very good friend of mine. He knows he is awesome just as he is. He is happy, he is courageous and he surrounds himself with compassionate positive energy. He meets new people with warmth and if you didn’t particularly like him I suspect he wouldn’t give it a second thought. Wise dog!
Embodiment of Courage and Expressions of Compassion have been regular discussion and reflection topics recently with a number of the business leaders and coaches I work with.
As a coach and coach supervisor one of my roles is to enable individuals to take their Creative insights and ideas forwards into action in order to share them with a wider collective. The contexts are many and varied and include clients offering services, products and experiences through a range of real and virtual media.
Even the most outwardly confident of business owner can experience fear relating to imagined worst-case scenarios about how others see them – how others might judge the decisions they make. I notice highly talented individuals asking themselves over and over “is it good enough, am I good enough” useful questions of course… up to a point!
Clearly we need to deliver high standards and naturally we aim to take into consideration the systemic impact of our choices and the ecological implications of the actions we take.
Unease relating to being unfairly negatively judged however… is something quite different and if we are to remain motivated and truly Embody Courage we need to distinguish between progressive and destructive commentary with clear demarcation relating to where we place our attention and energy. The flipside applies too… if we are to truly Express Compassion we need to ensure that our responses to others are fairly considered.
Constructive critique is a hugely valuable development tool and it is essential to be open to a range of viewpoints if we are to continue to learn and evolve. We also cannot take offence if others offer provocative challenge or simply have opposing views to ours, after all this can create useful debate.
Deliberately destructive input is something altogether different… and… at most deserves a wry smile in response. Nowhere is the potential for undermining commentary so pronounced as the internet with blogs and articles shared via an array of social media platforms. In this virtual world the level of consideration given to instant commentary can be highly variable.
At best (and most often) responses will aim to promote positive outcomes and enrich the discussion… and yet… I am certain that many of us will have at some point read and even (perhaps in less resourceful moments) provided a comment with questionably less than progressive intention.
So here is a reminder of how to comment and receive comments – be it real or virtual.
If you are about to offer response, consider, is what you are going to impart:
If it is… and you would be happy to offer this feedback in person face to face… then go for it! The chances are you are going to further the discussion, increase the learning or improve the product with a positive outcome in mind.
If you are on the receiving end of feedback like that above – receive it with gratitude… even if the message is challenging and not exactly what you wanted to hear. It takes deep courage and a vast amount of compassion to offer truly constructive critique.
If your remarks on a person’s idea, or way they are living their life simply seek to disempower them, increase your own sense of status over the other person, having potential to discourage them from expressing themselves fully in the future… pause and reconsider. Your actions serve only to demonstrate your own insecurity (and coaching can help address that). If their message or lifestyle genuinely does not interest you, the smart and efficient action is to simply “scroll on by”.
If you are receiving commentary that seeks, without substance, to devalue or invalidate your contribution… view this with compassion and remember how valuable your time is. Often the most appropriate response is no response. Above all… Whatever you present to the world there will always be people you connect with and those who you have less immediate rapport with. Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel happy to be alive – there are plenty of them out there!